Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lanco Annual Meeting

(click on image to enlarge)

Today I drove back from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I was in new Holland yesterday for the annual meeting of Lanco-Pennland cooperative, usually known simply as Lanco.

Lanco is just over ten years old and has grown amazingly in an area where Dairy Marketing Service (DMS), a subset of DFA, has a great deal of power. The growth could not have occurred without delivering more than the competition.

A significant number of members are Amish, which means most farms are under 50 cows. Some might see that as a logistical nightmare but, Lanco continues to operate in a manner which returns value to their members.

The level of engagement of the board and the transparency of management is refreshing to say the least.

For the past year the cooperative's member milk has averaged 268,000 somatic cell count - that is real quality. The milk quality certainly helps sales and returns premiums to members.

Lanco's annual meeting was held at Yoder's, in New Holland, Pennsylvania. Members came in cars, vans, buses and buggies. With an estimated 500 attending, the room was packed to capacity.


  1. I'm not surprised!

    We live and farm in an area of NYS that is seeing the Amish move into old run down and/or vacant dary farms by the droves. We've recently had chance to work with some of the Amish to help them buy dairy cattle locally and we were blown away by them! We always knew they were known for being hard working farmers and honest/trustworthy people but what we've also noticed (and should've known)is how they WATCH OUT FOR EACH OTHER in every aspect of their lives.

    Now here's the irony. In the last year, most of the 25 to 30 "small" farms are now owned by the Amish with several of the other remaining 5 to 10 farms being the "mega" freestall types. (As an aside, many wonder if these mega farms are only still in business because they're subsidized by very very cheap migrant labor and because they're viwed as "too big to fail" in the eyes of the lenders. But that's another issue altogether)

    The lesson for us? Perhaps we (dairy farmers) need to "relearn" how to cooperate and work with each other rather than watching our neighbors sell out and then muttering under our breath - "glad it's not us"!

    If we now know how the existing Cooperatives have failed the American Dairy Farmer then let's look at other "out of the box" ways to get the milk from our farms to the grocery shelves that yiels a fair price.

    The Amish don't complain they get it done!

  2. Didn't Lanco used to be affiliated with Allied? I felt the same way about Allied up until the last year or so. Board members were local farmers who cared. The cooperative was run with our best interests in mind.

  3. Yes, Lanco was affiliated with Allied in the beginning. I share your feelings about Allied and regret to see the end of what had been a fine organization.